I'm working on a social networking site which I hope to grow large quickly. We're looking at starting off with 1 dedicated and scaling up as we grow. With the purpose of hosting a social networking website in mind, we're expecting to have a server capable of handling the load, is fast with the SQL connections, can handle the image uploading and resizing through ImageMagik, etc.
In your experience, what should I look for in a server if I'm to expect high traffic and user loads?
Right now I'm looking at a Servint machine. I'm already on their VPS which is nice and I love their support service, which I will probably need considering I don't know a thing about managing servers.
I'd consider Rackspace, if you truly think this is going to be successful. You can definitely grow with them and they'll probably help you more than anyone else. Be prepared to pay a good deal extra, though.
Serpico, honestly I feel RS is a joke for what they charge. Friend of mine had a box there -- wasn't all it was cracked up to be, or maybe he had a poor experience. But I really don't see why they charge to that extreme unless the person simply wants the site to run and has absolutely no idea about the hosting industry.
I've been with several companys that do a much better job, for cheaper.
Interestingly enough we just started playing around with a social networking-ish site of our own. As you expand you'll probably want to look at clustering - and there are lots of ways to do it. Beefy server specs are nice if you can afford them now, but definately not necessary to start out. We're using InterWorx for the time being to keep the clustering stuff simple, and it works great. There are also more effecient (though costly) methods you can pursue there, and loads of people willing to help you get there.
Corey Northcutt | Northcutt Competitive inbound marketing with a hosting industry competency. Social | Content | Optimization | Outreach
quite a few options as im sure you are aware - but the bottom line in the long run you need a provider that offers something more than vanilla dedicated servers. for instance you need to make sure the provider offers customizations such as
- private rack or vlan clusters (where they lease you say 4 boxes and put them next to each other with a private switch connecting them)
- Managed services (i.e. tech support by someone who speaks your language and is located nearby, not over seas)
- Can provide some form of load balancing and/or clustering packages out of the box (this can vary).
If you find a provider that offers these, you should be able to grow into what you need over time. And if you have no idea about what you are doing - you are going to need more than a server management contract you probably will need to hire a system admin of sorts to explain and help you design things to grow properly. A few hundred in planning now will save 10's of thousands in downtime/wasted setup later.
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